Release Date: May 12, 2023
Genre: Hip-Hop, Rap, Powwow Step, EDM
Label: Red Music Rising Boogey the Beat, the talented Anishinaabe DJ and producer, has released his debut album, Cousins, and it is a stunning combination of electronic beats and traditional Anishinaabe sounds. The album features an impressive array of First Nations musicians from across Canada, including Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Drezus, PJ Vegas, and plenty more.
Boogey began learning music production in high school and has been at it ever since. As a teenager his friends wanted to be rappers, so he happily assumed the role of producer. Now, he sees the beats he makes as a voice unto themselves, telling audiences to find joy and have fun while remembering there was a time when Anishinaabe artistic traditions were banned.
Cousins has been in the works long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. When lockdown hit, Boogey did what he does best and hunkered down in his Winnipeg studio, reexamining old recordings to perfect them for wide release. Some of which saw hundreds of reworks. Over the span of the pandemic, he continued crafting a comforting promise of togetherness during a time of unsolicited solitude, each sonic soundscape imagining a future when crowds and communities could gather once again.
The album begins with "Bangishamon," which starts with the sounds of a traditional First Nations drum song before transitioning into a full-blown powwow step track with the incorporation of a house beat. "Bangishamon" features the many talents of Southern Thunderbird Medicine Drum. "Run For Cover" sees rappers Young D and Yung Trybez from Snotty Nose Rez Kids teaming up for a rap track that's straight fire.
The album's genre is far and between, with tracks like "Tapwe" featuring Drezus, PJ Vegas, and Young Spirit, dropping yet another powwow step tune that incorporates exciting rap/hip-hop elements. "Higher" features fellow Winnipeg musician Sebastian Gaskin and blends soca influences with dreamy reverb to create an immediate classic.
"All It Want" is the only song on the album without a feature, but it's a powerful track led by defiant guitar and haunting vocal cuts, with a pulse-shaking drum beat that comes in later in the song. Snotty Nose Rez Kids appear again alongside the powwow round dance, drum, and singing group Northern Cree on the massive dance-influenced rap number "The Sage Is On Fire."
"Yellow Turtle" is a clubby, genre-bending track featuring fellow Manitoba First Nations musician Ila Barker, which feels like the perfect summery track with its insatiable synths, melodies, hooks, and powerful guitar solo. "My Bike" features the unforgettable voices of MC Red Cloud and Crystle Lightning of the Los Angeles-based hip-hop duo Lightning Cloud, with Boogey's wobbly bass-led beat accompanying the duo's powerful performance on the track.
Finally, the album's last track is "The Sage Is On Fire" (The Halluci Nation Remix), which sees the track become a dancey powwow step tune in classic Halluci Nation fashion.
In summary, Cousins is an exhilarating new chapter of powwow step that flawlessly combines electronic beats with a wide display of traditional Anishinaabe and First Nations sounds. Boogey the Beat's debut album Cousins is an exceptional display of talent and collaboration, showcasing the power of Indigenous music and highlighting the voices and talents of a cornucopia of First Nations musicians from all across Canada.